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Social Media & Mobile Technology – Event Recap

September’s Second Thursday event, Social Media and Mobile Technology, met in Stamford at the UConn Stamford Campus on September 11th. Over 50 attendees, including early stage companies, service providers, and investors were able to connect on issues and opportunities related to social media and mobile tech. A diverse group of 10 companies presented in front of an audience of investors and business experts.

Pitch Highlights:

Mingl - presented by Oji. Mingl is an evolution of networking. It is a mobile app that is able to connect people based on common interest during events. The application is able to connect with existing social/professional network platforms (e.g., LinkedIn) to ensure that brief connections are turned into lasting connections.

Activate Brain & Body – presented by Martin Pazzani. Activate Brain & Body aims to improve the quality of life for an aging population by leveraging technologies that can quantify performance factors. The quantified data serves as a basis to develop personalized health fitness programs that can be implemented and navigated by health practitioners and coaches, in order to to slow the progressive decline in body and brain performance suffered by elderly populations.

AdapTac Games - presented by Candice M. Hughes, PhD MBA. AdapTac Games aims to provide people who struggle with ADHD with a health gaming alternative. The mobile racing game rewards organization and attention. The objectives: Plan, Collect, and Race.

CoPilot Family – presented by Spring Hollis. Co-Pilot Family allows parents to protect their children against inappropriate content and media. Copilot doesn’t replace parents, but it does provide them with a tool to help navigate the world of smart devices. Copilot can be customized to the circumstances of each family.

Electric Compass - presented by Michael Forbes. Electric Compass (EC) provides a range of packages and technologies that support company in tracking assets and operators. The company has a proven track record in working with businesses to develop business specific enterprise applications, mobile apps, and basic vehicle GPS tracking systems, improving the efficiency of operations for its customers.

Fanum – presented by Eric Lum. Fanum is today, what MTV was in the 80′s. Fanum brings industry movers and “tastemakers” into the spotlight. The platform creates a social movement around these experienced tastemakers, whereby they serve to influence and announce upcoming music trends and artists. The company adds prestige to the already recognized tastemakers, while collecting significant specialty data that is commonly sought out by entertainment agencies and businesses.

MaxExposure Social Media - presented by Joe Grushkin. MaxExposure takes SEO to the next level. The company has developed a patent-pending Social Media Analysis Process, which provides business owners with a definitive ‘grade’ on the effectiveness of their social media, based on industry standards. Social media management, competition monitoring, analytics, and continuous traction building are delivered to increase visibility and sales.

MEA Mobile – presented by Bruce Seymour. MEA Mobile is composed of a super-star team of developers and serial business leaders. MEA Mobile is a mobile software development company that works with companies to build next-generation mobile apps. MEA Mobile has also developed an extensive internal portfolio of successful mobile apps.

Milnaa - presented by Steve Chainani. Milnaa is a social network platform for India. The platform has intranet/extranet capabilities for enterprises, while not losing the personal touch of a fun social network. Milnaa aims to build internal and external connections for India’s banks, local governments, and other enterprises.

MyBeanJar – presented by Terry Kavanagh. From Marvel Comics to MyBeanJar, Terry and Co-founder David Chodosh have changed the landscape for gaming revenue streams. MyBeanJar is a fun and entertaining gaming system that rewards consumers with high end coupons. It’s a win-win-win game for consumers, companies with coupons to give, and MyBeanJar.

Keynote Presentation: SocialFly’s Co-Founders Stephanie Abrams (CEO) and Courtney Spritzer (COO) Stephanie and Courtney presented an in-depth analysis on social media trends, and strategies that businesses can use to gain traction (retweets, likes, etc.) on social media platforms. SocialFly manages social media content for a broad range of industries that are looking to increase visibility, and business. At the conclusion of the keynote presentation the entrepreneurs, investors, and other attendees proceeded to the exhibition and networking area for food, beverages, and discussion. The pitching companies received a great deal of feedback and were able to make valuable connections. Overall, great pitches, great presentation, and great fun! Thank you to our event chairs, Bruce Blasnik and David Schaffer, for helping plan and execute a successful Second Thursday Presentation.

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Q2 MoneyTree Report – Investments in CT

MoneyTree Report by Pricewaterhousecoopers

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UKS VC Capital Report | Post Season Report 2014

Headlining this issue: Angel Investor Tax Forum Extended – The angel investor tax credit program provides personal income tax credits for people investing at least $25,000 in startup, technology-based Connecticut businesses approved for credit-eligible investments. The program is administered by Connecticut Innovations, the state’s quasi-public authority responsible for growing Connecticut businesses through innovative financing and strategic assistance.

In this VC Capital Report:

UKS venture capital report

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August 2014 | Summer Networking Party Recap

A huge thank you to Robinson & Cole, Shipman & Goodwin, and Yale University for hosting this year’s Summer Networking Parties. The weather was perfect for all three locations and we are happy that so many members and friends came out to celebrate the near end of a great summer! Those who attended Stamford’s party at Robinson & Cole had a birds eye view of the Beach Boys performance at Stamford’s Alive@five event. Congratulations to Marty Bell for being “best dressed for summer” at the Stamford party! Check out photos from the Stamford and Hartford parties below:

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Click here to view more summer networking photos

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HALO Report – Angel Group Round & Sizes Are Up

The Halo Report research series highlights angel investment activity and trends in North America. It is a collaborative effort designed to raise awareness of early-stage investment activities by angel investors in groups and provides unique insights previously unavailable to entrepreneurs or early-stage investors.

In this month’s report it was released that “median round sizes increased to $980K per deal, and pre-money valuations rose to $2.7 million in the quarter. Investments in Internet-related companies jumped significantly, while dollars invested in mobile and healthcare companies dropped.”

“Opportunities are great for startups seeking funding today,” said Rob Wiltbank, Vice Chairman of Research, Angel Resource Institute.  “An increase in high-profile liquidity events is driving new investments by angel groups and all types of investors, which in turn will lead to the formation of new companies and continue to feed the cycle. ”

Read the Full HALO Report

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Increased Venture Capital Fuels Connecticut Startups

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Published by Hartford Business Journal

Connecticut venture investments are pouring into tech companies, with software and biotechnology companies taking in most of the funding. In the first six months of this year alone, $302 million dollars were invested in 21 Connecticut firms. Crossroads Venture Group, Angel Investor Forum, and Connecticut Innovations (quasi-public technology-investment arm) have actively invested in businesses, and have contributed to the continued growth of CT’s entrepreneurial community. According to angel investor Joe DeMartino, managing director of the CT Angel Investor Forum, Connecticut angels got a boost from state passage of a tax credit that allows qualified angels who invest at least $25,000 into a startup to collect a 25-percent credit against their state income tax. DeMartino does not believe that investments will slow down anytime soon. Eric Dale, partner and chair of Hartford law firm Robinson & Cole’s emerging companies, private equity and venture capital practice group stated that “the numbers say plenty about what is taking shape in Connecticut’s venture-capital market.” It will be interesting to see what effect the increasingly active venture capital community will have on the state’s technology and business communities.

Read more about Connecticut Venture Capital in the HartfordBusiness – Click Here 

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Farmington’s OneSource Water Raises $10M

OneSource Water, LLC (Farmington, CT) has raised a total of $10 million in equity, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. The company aims to use the money for “infrastructure, acquisitions and its continued organic growth.” To date, OneSource Water has acquired bottleless water cooler distributors in Maryland, Ohio, Missouri, and Florida. What will OneSource’s organic growth mean for Connecticut?

Read Full Article in The Hartford Business

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Second Quarter 2014 Venture Capital Review

“Venture capitalists invested $13.0 billion in 1,114 deals in the second quarter of 2014, according to the MoneyTree™ Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), based on data provided by Thomson Reuters. Quarterly venture capital (VC) investment activity rose 34 percent in terms of dollars and 13 percent in the number of deals, compared to the first quarter when $9.7 billion was invested in 985 deals. The total dollars invested in Q2 2014 marks the largest quarterly investment total since $13.1 billion was invested in Q1 2001. VC investments for the first half of 2014 reached $22.7 billion, the highest first half total since 2001.”

Here are some highlights from the report, click the link below to read the full release.

  • In Connecticut, 19 companies received Q2 2014 over $119.7 million in funding during the second quarter of 2014. The number of deals has increased by approximately 73%, from the prior quarter, while overall funding has nearly tripled since Q2 of 2013 and the amount of deals has grown by 6%.
  • The software industry received the highest level of funding of all industries, increasing by 50 percent from the previous quarter, and reaching $6.1 billion.
  • The biotechnology industry was the second largest sector for dollars invested – $1.8 billion invested in to 122 deals, while this sector represented 53 percent of all funding in Connecticut during the second quarter with $63.4 million in funding across three deals.
  • Seed stage investments increased by approximately 46 percent in dollars and 20 percent in deals with a total of $189 million invested in 55 deals in the second quarter.*
  • Expansion stage dollars increased by 53 percent in the second quarter, with a total of $5.7 billion invested in 308 deals.
  • Investments in later stage deals increased by 25 percent in dollars ($3.2 billion), and a 19 percent increase in deals (totaling 229).
  • First time financing dollars (companies receiving venture capital for the first time) increased to $429 million, an approximately 86 percent increase in the second quarter.
  • First time financing deals acquired a total of $3.1 investment dollars by venture capital, while software industry deals captured 42 percent of the total first time financing/investment pool ($1.3 billion).
  • In Connecticut, the largest share of funds received during the second quarter of 2014 went to Early stage companies with 8 deals and nearly $60 million, representing 50% of total funding.

Read the full report from PricewaterhouseCoopers

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July 2014 | Software EdTech Recap

July’s Second Thursday event, Software and Educational Technology, met in Farmington at the UConn Health Center on July 10th. Just over 60 attendees, including early stage companies, service providers, and investors, made their way to UConn’s academic building. Five pitch presentations kicked off the evening at 5:00pm.

Pitch Highlights:

360Alumni – Presented by Christina Balotescu. 360Alumni aims to help colleges and universities repair broken relations between the institution and it’s alumni by “looking 360beyond fundraising goals and putting alumni first.” By keeping alumni connected and engaged, the institution benefits from an increase in donation size and frequency. According to Balotescu, the current constituent pyramid focuses largely on the top most engaged donors when it should focus equally on all donors no matter how engaged or generous they may be. 360Alumni offers a system that enables alumni to engage easily and effectively while encouraging the administration to connect with them regardless of the size of their pocketbook.

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Campuscene - Presented by Ryan Schwartz. Campuscene is a software that allows prospective students to connect and engage with an institution they would like to attend. This not only enables the student to make a more sound choice when selecting a university but also helps said university make better projection calls on which accepted applicants will actually attend. According to Schwartz, 85 percent of universities say that improving yield is of top priority, yield being the estimated attendance compared to accepted applicants. More than 30 institutions have witnessed the benefits of the Campuscene experience.

 

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Combat2Career - Presented by Charlotte Creech. Combat2Career is a software that aims to grow veteran enrollment through better veteran service. According to Creech over one million new veterans are expected to hit the college search this year, an estimated 10 billion potential dollars for academic institutions. The problem? Simply that veterans have a hard time figuring out which colleges and universities will accept their GI benefits and which will not. This results in a large sum of wasted GI benefits and potential tuition dollars. Combat2Career has developed a software that will allow veterans to calculate how their GI benefits will be used at a university; effectively allowing them to make the best choice as to which university to attend. Combat2Career bridges the gap between institutions recruiting vets and vets looking for the right institution. The goal is to help colleges and universities cash in on GI cash benefits while helping veterans find institutions that will best utilize their tuition dollars.

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Screen Mentor Inc. - Presented by Michael Rachkovsky. Screen Mentor’s advanced artificial intelligence technology, Intelligent Educational Suite, or IES for short, aims to facilitate a more engaging and productive learning environment. Some of the major components found in IES include the following: an intelligent tutor, parent support system, teacher support system, and school admin support system.

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Why Science - Presented by Yvonne Kielhorn. Why Science is geared toward helping teachers customize their lesson plans in a way that will better engage their students. The cloud-based, online platform allows teachers to streamline their educational programs and alter their lessons to better convey content. Why Science is more accessible, and affordable, than traditional tutoring and because it compliments the educators teaching style so nicely it has been successful in increasing student performance in school systems where it is implemented.

During the pitch presentations attendees were able to log on to TestMyPitch and give live feedback to the presenters. Following the five company pitches were two keynote presentations:

Keynote speaker – Jean Hammond of Learn Launch:

Keynoter Jean Hammond of Learn Launch used her presentation time to highlight the trends in investment opportunities. Changes in the education market are imperative, making the need for new innovations even more crucial. “There is a hunger for accountability and answers to the questions, ‘will high school students be prepared for college,’ and ‘will college grads get a good job?’ are being highly sought after,” said Hammond. In order to ensure that the answers are indeed “yes” schools are hard pressed to upgrade their facilities; a costly endeavor. Innovations that personalize the learning process, simplify lesson plan sharing, and aid educators in preparing students for the “next step,” are crucial in the educational industry. In fact, Hammond explained that a striking 92 percent of teachers have expressed a desire to use more edTech in their classrooms. “This is a segment where investment is happening,” said Hammond. “The educational market is bringing in more than $1.3 trillion dollars, a number that is only growing. The market size is large and the innovation opportunities are both incremental and disruptive.”

Keynote speaker – Christopher Curran of Education Growth Advisors:

Keynoter Chris Curran took the opportunity to address various trends in education leading with the simple fact that the number of enrolled students is down 2 percent when compared to 2011. In addition, 70 percent of educators believe that online education is an important part of the education strategy. Because institutions need help increasing yield and because there is such a strong focus on online education, the edTech industry is ripe for the picking. “This is why there are so many companies coming up through the investment food chain into education segments,” said Curran. Pressure on post-secondary institutions to be bigger and better has led institutions to be over spending. With that being said Curran explained that online courses reduce the cost of instruction by up to 20 percent. “Due to the most recent shift towards online education it is projected that 50 percent of all students by 2020 will either be fully enrolled in online courses or taking some type of online class,” said Curran.

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At the conclusion of the keynote presentations attendees made their way back into the networking space where hot pizza, plenty of veggies, chips and salsa awaited. While helping themselves to self serve wine and beer, attendees gathering around exhibitor posters and connected with pitch presenters. Networking lasted late into the evening and it was clear to all that the software edTech sector is alive and well.

Thank you again to our event chairs, Joe DeMartino and Matthew Monteith for helping us plan and execute a successful Second Thursday Presentation!

Congratulations to Alan Tan, winner of this month’s drawing of our Innovation Summit Ticket Giveaway! We hope you noticed the Innovation Summit Ticket Giveaway bucket at the event, drop your business card in the bucket and you could win two tickets to the Innovation Summit! We draw a winner after every Second Thursday Event! 

See you all at next months Summer Networking Party!

View Event Photos | Event Videos | Event Presentation

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Connecticut Takes Strong Investment Strides in Early 2014

 

Connecticut has made leaps and bounds in the ranking of venture capital dollars invested. Going from 19th in the third quarter of 2012 to an impressive 4th place in the first quarter of 2014. Which states out ranked Connecticut? California, Massachusetts, and Utah. The last time Connecticut ranked in the top percentile was 1985 – 2005. The recovery to our fourth place status is being credited to capital investments made in early stage companies by CI, CECD and local angels. It is expected  that Connecticut will hold it’s investment pace into the second, third and fourth quarter as more companies reach A round stage.

That’s not all, a sole Connecticut-based investor has made the Midas List of the top 100 tech investors in the world. Her name is Ann Lamont and she is a veteran investor who is no stranger to the Midas List. Ann has experience and expertise in the healthcare and financial services technology industries and joined Oak Investments in 1982. Congratulations Ann Lamont!

 

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